Bring your group to the Arboretum to a unique learning experience for adults. We welcome community, educational, faith-based, professional, tourist, and other groups. We offer a range of standard topics, and groups can also request specialized tours in areas of staff expertise. Programs can include walking tours, bus tours, presentations, and learning activities. We welcome individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to attend our programs and group tours. We are a dementia friendly institution. Please review the tour information below and submit a group tour request online.
Groups can choose from a range of standard topics. Programs can be adapted for group needs. These programs are designed for adults.
- Seasonal Observations: Enjoy a seasonal walk in the Arboretum. A naturalist will lead you to see and experience seasonal highlights on the day of your visit. These could include winter landscapes, spring woodland wildflowers, summer prairie flowers and insects, and fall colors. This tour can be scheduled at any time of the year. Suggested time: 1, 1.5, or 2 hours.
- Our Changing Ecosystems: A naturalist will lead you on a walk to see restoration and research in progress. Learn how ecological restoration increases biodiversity in managed ecosystems and how climate change is playing a part in our restoration practices. This tour can be scheduled at any time of the year. Suggested time: 1.5 or 2 hours.
- Lost City Tour: Walk with a naturalist to see the part of the Arboretum that was once planned as a housing development. See the remnants of the paved streets and learn the rest of this intriguing story. Spring and fall are the best times of the year for this tour. We highly recommend not scheduling this in the summer. Suggested time: 2 hours.
- Garden Walk with a Naturalist: Take a walk in our Native Plant Garden and/or Longenecker Horticultural Garden and enjoy stories from Arboretum naturalists about the plants and animals that live there. Spring, summer, and fall are the best times of the year for this tour. Suggested time: 1, 1.5, or 2 hours.
- History of the Arboretum by Trail: Take an outside walking tour with a naturalist to learn about the history of the Arboretum. Learn about the many people that have called this land Home. See the Effigy mounds, learn about the Civilian Conservation Corp’s role, walk in the footsteps of Aldo Leopold and the many others who have helped and are still helping to restore and conserve the land. This tour can be scheduled at any time of the year. Suggested time: 1.5 hours.
- History of the Arboretum Indoor Presentation: Learn about the history of the Arboretum, in this naturalist presentation. Hear the stories of the people who have lived on this land and the people who have and are working to restore and conserve this land. This presentation can be scheduled at any time of the year. Suggested time: 1 hour.
- Arboretum by Bus: An Arboretum naturalist will join you on your bus and lead you to see the highlights of the Arboretum and share our story with you. Learn about the history of the land and the people who have been a part of the land. This tour is popular with senior living communities. Spring and fall are the best times of the year for this tour. Only small buses – 25 passengers or less – can be accommodated. We cannot provide buses. Suggested time: 1 hour.
Cost: $34 per naturalist per hour. Group size will determine the number of naturalists required. See private group visit pricing for more information.
We also offer programs on specialty and custom topics in areas of staff expertise. Specific Arboretum staff may be requested (see below for common specialty topics), or we can help you find the appropriate person for your interest area.
- Susan Carpenter, Native Plant Garden curator: native plants, pollinators
- David Stevens, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens curator: horticultural trees and shrubs
- Brad Herrick, research program manager and ecologist: jumping worms, wetlands, research
- Michael Hansen, land care manager: restoration practices, prescribed fire
Please submit a detailed group tour request about the subject matter and kind of program you would like. We will contact you to discuss the best fit and costs for your program. The cost of specialized topics will vary depending on length of presentation, requested materials, and other factors.